“Christmas Guide to Buying a Bible” at First Things

Thinking of giving the Bible as a gift this Christmas? First Things asked me to give some recommendations, which you can find at On the Square here:

"Christmas Guide to Buying a Bible"

I had a hard time narrowing down the list. Should I recommend the Legacy ESV or the Single Column Journaling Bible? (I went with the latter, as much as I love the Legacy.) Feel free to make your own recommendations either here or there. What Bible would you want for Christmas?

17 Comments on ““Christmas Guide to Buying a Bible” at First Things

  1. Hands down, thanks to your say-so, the Cambridge Clarion in KJV, goatskin. I already have it though.
    I wouldn’t mind the Schulyer with the Confessions, but it’s a bit spendy, considering the Clarion that I already have… :-/

  2. For the Catholics out there, I might also recommend a print edition of the Saint John’s Bible.

  3. First of all,I really miss this blog during the weeks of absence! But I understand how busy you are and I appreaciate how much you have helped me and many others as we purchase and use the Bible.
    I actually am waiting on a Legacy tp arrive to my house later this week! I saw one in a store for the first time, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it! This is my first Crossway edition and I’ve been a little spoiled by the elegance of Allan’s and Cambridge (and TBS,because of the beautiful Westminister!). I know the Clarion is a little smaller and I usually appreciate that in a Bible,but I really wanted this Legacy as a part of my library because of what it represents. It will be my primary ESV reading edition for awhile.
    I have had my eye on the Allan ESV compact for some time. If I had to ask for a quality Bible without scaring someone with the price, I would probably ask for the Compact. There’s something about it that makes it stand out. And it’s super portable!
    There’s about four more that are on my list ( I plan to purchase them by the end of 2013). After that I will focus on rare,one-of-a-kind editions that will be great additions to my library but not heavily used. They will become part of the heirlooms I pass on to my children. I’m pretty certain about my list,unless you introduce me to some new Bible that is one of the Bibles of my dreams (which you have done before!)

  4. I’ve had my eye on the latest incarnation of the Allan NRSV since your article about it back in July. After reading your recommendation of it once again in this First Things article, I finally decided to just stop torturing myself and buy one with a nice black cover. I might have a capable binder replace the ribbons with something red or black (I have an old Scofield reference KJV in deep black French morocco with black ribbons and it’s a sweet look).
    Anyway, thanks for all the great articles. I look forward to more.

  5. I may not have been one of your first three readers but it’s been more than six years since encountering your blog. Thanks.
    Do you have a review of the Heritage Edition BCP/KJV in the works?

  6. >> “I want a nice edition of the RSV.”
    >> While I’m not aware of any good RSVs in print now (perhaps a reader will chime in, if I’ve overlooked something),…
    If I understand him correctly, Mark excluded study Bibles from his article, so I’m posting this RSV here rather than there:
    The New Oxford Annotated Bible
    This seems to be a decent hardback binding, with a sewn textblock (plus as much glue as a perfect binding!) And it is, as far as I can tell, the only RSV in print with a complete “Expanded Apocrypha”, including both the Catholic Deuterocanon and all the Orthodox Anagignoskomena.

  7. I’m waiting for the new kjv brown goatskin pitt minion! Just received email that it’s shipped! That’s a lovely Christmas present 🙂

  8. Clarion KJV in goatskin, but I already own it. Failing that, Clarions in every other translation, and something in single-column paragraph with the Apocrypha (NCPB doesn’t count!).

  9. I wouldn’t mind a St John’s Bible, either, because it is a beautiful set of books, but it’s very expensive (it makes a Clarion look like a Penguin or Oxford paperback Bible), and it’s NRSV.

  10. The Clarion? Living off the Cambridge name. Thin, curling paper, bad reference margin placement, and too thick for its footprint.
    Legacy has much better paper in a mid-sized Bible and the Cambridge Pitt Minions are smaller and also have better paper than the Clarion. Both are cheaper too.
    The Clarion looks nice before you open it, then it hits the wrong notes.

  11. I love mine. It is a bit thick for the footprint, but that’s what you pay for single-column in a portable size. The fact that I only use, in English, the KJV and DRC, and, in a pinch, if none other is available, an NKJV or NASB [or Green’s Literal/Modern KJV in the side column of his Textus Receptus interlinear], probably has something to do with it. (Those translations are all notorious for coming in lousy settings: KJV, DRC, and NASB are almost exclusively verse-by-verse, and NKJV is impossible to find in single-column.)
    The Clarion struck the best balance I’ve yet seen in a translation; yeah, the proportions of MacArthur’s Study Bible or the NCPB are better, but they’re massive, the Cameo includes the full canon, the paper in a Haydock Bible is better and includes the deutercanonicals (while making an NCPB look like a Pitt Minion), the highland goatskin of Allan’s is nicer, a a slimline feels like it lays flat to a greater degree due to the decreased thickness to width ratio, etc., etc., but none of those others are as balanced or as readable, or, for that matter, single-column settings of the traditional 1769 Blayney recension (or as close as can be told by those who aren’t dispensational Independent Baptists searching for the elusive “Pure Cambridge Edition”) of the King James Version.
    The only Bible I’ve seen come close in terms of layout (and, for the smaller one, size) is the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, but it has a grammatically-mutilated text (where “mine” becomes “my”, “thine” becomes “thy”, “digged” becomes “dug”, “builded” becomes “built”, ruining the cadences).
    (As an aside, I have two of them, and the goatskin is highly variable – one has a standard goatskin grain, and one has major, extreme grain. I like the extreme grain.)

  12. Greetings. I just wanted to give all of the R.L. Allan fans out there advance notice that on Monday I will be auctioning one of the R.L. Allan Longprimer Diamond Jubilee’s on Ebay. There were only 60 of these made and each is individually serial numbered.
    Here is the description from Bibles Direct:
    Keep a lookout on Ebay if interested.

  13. Quoting Chrysostom: “I wouldn’t mind a St John’s Bible, either, because it is a beautiful set of books, but it’s very expensive (it makes a Clarion look like a Penguin or Oxford paperback Bible), and it’s NRSV.”
    Chrysostom (and other interested parties): If you happen to live near Chicago IL, Minneapolis MN, or Sioux Falls SD, feel free to contact me. I could let you see one of the Heritage Edition volumes (full-size fine art illuminated replica, not the mass-produced print edition) of the Saint John’s Bible in person for a private viewing (any time if you are around Chicago, over Christmas week or by appointment if around Minneapolis, by advance appointment if in Sioux Falls, and I could be persuaded to make a short road trip to southern Wisconsin or northern Indiana). I currently work with Saint John’s giving presentations about it and so have a volume available for those purposes. I’m always happy to share!
    jasonengel AT gmail DOT com

  14. Jason, I’d love to see a St John’s if you’re ever on the west coast. Keep us appraised of your whereabouts!

  15. Bill, if you are in Washington, both Gonzanga University in Spokane and Saint Martin’s University in Lacey have the Heritage Edition. If you are in California, you will find a Heritage Edition at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Pepperdine University in Malibu, and Santa Clara University in Santa Clara. I can not speak for those organizations, but if you contact them with a request to visit and see their copy of the Saint John’s Bible they may work with you.

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